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Aug 13, 2013 06:28 AM

Mexican Beer

Which ones are independent and which ones are owned by MillerCoors and AB-Inbev etc...?

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  1. I'm not aware of any Mexican beers that are not Mexican owned. Nor do they welcome imports.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      Seriously, Veggo?

      Dos Equis is owned by Heineken, International (one you missed, JAB):

      I think the answer to your question is "none you can get".

      1. re: RB Hound

        I think they are both partially owned [or partnered].

        1. re: hawkeyeui93

          Mexican brewers have more to gain by partnering to allow for an export market of their product, while very few non-Mexican brands are distributed there. Bohemia is the "Heineken" of Mexican beer, but I have never had a Heineken in Mexico. If things are changing, it's very recent. I have 40 years of beer drinking experience in Mexico.

          1. re: Veggo

            To be sure. Mexico is the world's largest exporter of beer.

            1. re: Cachetes

              Until Corona was sold in tall clear bottles with a lime wedge and clever marketing in the US, it was not ever considered a premium brand in Mexico. It used to be sold in Mexico in fat short amber glass bottles, on a par with Carta Blanca. Corona "magnas" in the liter bottles were the cheapest beer buzz to be found.

              1. re: Veggo

                Not to age ourselves, but that's a bit before my time. My sense is that you've been going there a lot longer than I have. Any memories on your end of brands you used to drink but that are now gone?

                1. re: Cachetes

                  I can't think of any that are gone, but Carta Blanca used to have much more market share. Popular more recently are Pacifico, Victoria, Montejo, Leon, and of course Sol which is very light and popular in chiladas.

                  1. re: Cachetes

                    Awesome question Cache....

                    I was shocked when Corona was first introduced to the U.S. market as a cool and premium beer. Back in the day it was a bottom-end brand in Mexico (kind of "old milwaukee" status)... Carta Blanca was sort of the budweiser of Mexico and Bohemia was a higher-end "michelob" type swill...

                    The mexican beer I remember most fondly but have only seen it once in 30+ years in the states was called "Superior"... that stuff was great in mexico... I once found a six pack of Superior in a florida beer drive-thru, brought it to a poker game and all the guys loved it... never seen it since, not sure they make it any more.

                    Update, did an image search here it is:

                    If you can find this stuff try it. If you know where it's sold in the USA, LMK!

                    1. re: TombstoneShadow

                      Superior was available in Houston during the 70's. I drank it at Ninfa's Mexican on Navigation if I wasn't drinking the super potent Ninfaritas back in the day. Loved that beer.

            2. re: hawkeyeui93

              Note to self: learn the difference between "owned" and "partnership".

              1. re: RB Hound

                I know there is a subtle difference, but I skipped that day in law school .... :)

                1. re: RB Hound

                  When I mentioned to someone who works at the Cerveceria Moctezuma that now they are a subsidiary of Heineken, they brusquely responded, "No, we are associates!"

          2. MillerCoors doesn't have any Mexican affiliates that I know of. Grupo Modelo is now combined with Anheuser Busch InBev, while the beer producting parts of FEMSA (the Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma) are now part of the Heinekin Group. Together, those two (FEMSA and Modelo) control about 95% of the Mexican market, but the govt. is forcing some vendors there (some major mini-marts there are owned by those groups. e.g. Oxxo) to create shelf space for imports. In fact, I went into a mini-mart while I was there a couple of weeks ago, and saw Miller being sold, though it had a very tiny space and very high up on the shelf. (There was an article in the NY Times about this recently, but my link to it is dead now.)

            The issue isn't so much that they are owned by these global conglomerates, but rather they are combined with them. Mexican beer helped to keep these big global beer producers afloat 15/20 years ago, and they are central to future growth strategies. So, for example, while the beer producing sections of FEMSA are now part of Heiniken, FEMSA in turn now owns about 20% of Heiniken. So the Mexican companies see themselves as associates, not as owned by these global conglomerates.

            About 5% of the market it independent of those two (though those two are now producing "artisanal" brews at their big factories in an effort to get ahead of that small but growing market).

            8 Replies
            1. re: Cachetes

              Are any of those 5% imported into the US?

              1. re: JAB

                That's a good question, I don't know. Those 5% are so closed out of the sales and distribution networks, even in Mexico, that they'd have a hard time. More likely we'll start seeing some of those mass-produced 'artisanal' brews showing up before those 5%.

                1. re: JAB

                  I recall beers from a Mexican craft brewery (but don't recall the name) being sold in the US a number of years ago, but I don't think that's the case today.

                  A few comments related to other parts of this thread:

                  The Mexican beer I remember is Noche Bueno, which I recall in the '80s was a nice bock beer. I also recall that at some point the beer was reformulated, and wasn't anything special after that.

                  I'm having trouble finding information about this, but I believe Mexican breweries must have a minimum production capacity to be licensed, which obviously makes it difficult to start a small brewery. Perhaps someone better at surfing can find this information on the web.

                  Here's a picture of Noche Bueno. It used to come in a stubby bottle, like Modelo, back in the day.

                  1. re: Jim Dorsch

                    As I recall, Noche Buena was a Christmas beer, and was seldom available throughout the year. It was dark with full-on flavor, and easily the most distinctive beer out of Mexico. I believe it is no longer brewed.

                    1. re: Tripeler

                      I think you're correct about it being a Christmas beer, and of course the label sports a poinsettia.

                      30 years ago in the DC area that beer stood out, as there was essentially no craft beer in the area.

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        I want to say it's still brewed, and that I've seen it in a sampler at BJs around x-mas time within the past few years (though that may be my memory deceiving me...)

                        1. re: Cachetes

                          A quick Internet search shows that Noche Buena is still around. I wonder if the recipe has changed much in the past 30 years.

                      2. re: Jim Dorsch

                        It was a huge favorite of mine back in the 80's and when I happened upon it last year (around Xmas in fact) I was very excited to buy it and taste it again. Very disappointing. I don't know whether it's been reformulated, as you suggest, or I got a bad/stale batch, or my memory deceived me.

                  2. Has Cucapa Brewery started distributing in the US? I know you can find their craft brews in the Baja. Or Tempus artesanals from MC? And I think there's a craft brewer out of Jaliosco, Minera?, but might still be a on tap brew versus bottle.

                    Unfortunately, other popular beers in Mexico from the big 2, like Leon (a dunkel but similar to Negra Modelo) and Victoria (4%) and Indio (both now considered the cheap stuff) or Montejo won't find their way to the US regularly. Superior might in be available in the SW US more readily than other regions. I haven't seen it in No Florida packies.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: crewsweeper

                      I'm pretty sure that I've seen Cucapa in the La Jolla Whole Foods, as well as at a good number of the bottleshops. I know that I've seen it on tap at a few bars here and there.